GLOUCESTER legend Mike Tindall has confirmed he is retiring from professional rugby.
The outside centre’s player/coach contract at Kingsholm was up for renewal at the end of last season and following the departure of Nigel Davies he was not offered a role by incoming director of rugby David Humphreys.
Despite his ambitions to continue as backs coach at Gloucester next season, the appointment of former England Under-20 coach Nick Walshe as backs and attack coach meant there was no room for him at Kingsholm.
The 2003 England World Cup winner has chosen to retire from the game in search of opportunities in broadcasting rather than seek Premiership rugby elsewhere, such is his affinity with the Cherry and Whites.
The 75-times capped England international said: “I could play two more years if I really wanted to but club rugby is a very special thing for me, it’s what I love about the game.
“International rugby and the Lions are great but club rugby is your bread and butter and dictates where you go in your life.
“You have to buy into that. I always wanted to be a one-club man but that didn’t happen. But I was very lucky to be at two great clubs in Gloucester and Bath.
“Obviously Gloucester is closer to my heart because of the way it finished and I was here for a year longer.
“And I want to thank them both for all they have done for me.
“I had to ask myself if I wanted to go and play somewhere else.
“Can you get emotionally attached to another club?
“Because that is the pull of club rugby for me.
“I don’t think you can. I always say ‘never say never’ but I wouldn’t have thought I will be back.
“You have to face the big bad world sometime and now is the right time to do that.”
The England centre has chosen to take on media opportunities this season working as a pundit for BBC 5Live, TalkSport and potentially Sky Sports and BT Sport.
But the decision to step away from life in the top flight of English rugby is not a simple one – professional rugby is all Tindall has known since he joined Bath in 1997, making 85 appearances.
The 35-year-old then signed for Gloucester in 2005 and went on to play 131 games.
Though he will remain a Cherry and Whites fan, he believes the time is right to step away from the sport.
He continued: “If I was honest, I did enjoy the player/coach role but at the same time it would be too easy to chase a coaching role. As soon as Nigel left I knew it would be very difficult as my contract had run out and my coaching experience was limited.
“I was always fully aware what might end up happening and as soon as they signed David Humphreys I knew.
“But after 17 years in the game playing it’s very easy to think you have to stay in that environment.
“But now what this has given me is an opportunity to have a year away from that and have a look at what else is out there.
“I will go to games at Gloucester and I will still be a fan.
“It’s been a great club, the fans have been brilliant, we have some good banter and it’s been a great part of my life since 2005.
“The fans have been very welcoming and the last few years after England have been even better, when you just concentrate on playing for Gloucester.
“It’s been a real pleasure and hopefully with the very strong squad they have now they can do well next season.
“It’s a little bit daunting going into something where I am out of my comfort zone but at the same time it is exciting.”
Tindall captained England against Wales in a World Cup warm-up in August 2011. England lost 19-9.
Tindall is the last player from the England World Cupwinning squad of 2003 to retire from playing.
Iain Balshaw announced his retirement last week.
Former Gloucester scrum-half Jimmy Cowan, who was not offered a new deal when his two-year contract with Gloucester finished at the end of last season, has signed a one-year deal with New Zealand team the Tasman Makos.